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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As a Troy-Bilt tiller owner, I used to get a free "newspaper' called the Troy-Bilt News. They were all the time selling their recently aquired tractor line made by Bolens. Nice machine although a little pricey. Anyone own a "red" Bolens? Did Troy-Bilt sell many? I'm not talking about the current Troy-Bilt tractors, but the ones made in the late 1980s and early 90s.
 

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Joe,
I don't know, I'm starting to think I'm the only guy here with a bolens, but mine is a tube frame from the fmc days. I tried calling all bolens owners out a while back under the mtd section and no one responded. Either ashamed of what mtd has done with the name or just not here? I also belong to the bolens clubs on yahoo but don't see the troybuilt bolens mentioned there either,mostly fmc stuff and an occasional gardenway bolens.
Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
sixchows,
I would guess that the Gardenway Bolens are the ones I was thinking of. Gardenway was Troy-Bilt or the other way around.
 

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Joe
I saw there was another reply and got excited, thought someone else showed up with one! Don't take it the wrong way, I enjoy your thoughts also.
 

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Originally posted by bontai Joe
sixchows,
I would guess that the Gardenway Bolens are the ones I was thinking of. Gardenway was Troy-Bilt or the other way around.
I think the Gardenway name was put on stuff that Troybuilt sold, but did not make. Could be wrong, but thats what someone told me once.

Oh, and BTW. In my parts, you don;t bring up the name Troybuilt. I am less then 1/2 hour from where they were, and a LOT of people lost there jobs when they played all there games. Long story aboult what the Troy built people did, and how they mismangeged the company.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ingersoll 444,
Yep, it's a shame what Troy-Bilt did to some fine old companies. My chipper shredder was built by W.W. Grinder who had been in business in Kansas since the early 1900s and due to their association with Gardenway/Troy-Bilt is now gone. Same thing happened with Bolens and others. It seemed that Troy-Bilt wasn't happy making the best tillers around, they got into the tractor business, the publishing business, the television business and lost sight of "who brought them to the dance".
 

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Ah

The American way! Greed at all costs.
 

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I have a Troy Bilt \Bolens GTX 20. The Troy Bilt GTX series is the same tractor has the Bolens Duratrac 5100.
Both tractors where made in the Bolens plant in Port Washington.
Garden Way was the parent co of Troy Bilt
 

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I understand that it was Garden Way, parent company of Troy-Bilt and others, that got itself into trouble.

BTW, Bontai, I have a Troy-Bilt Super Bronco tiller and love it for my small garden.

Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Greg,
I've got a 24 year old horse tiller that made me some money back in the day. It still runs great with the old cast iron Kohler thumping along. I should take the time to repaint the old girl, as she is starting to show her age.
 

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You got it right Joe.
Garden Way was the parent company and purchased Bolens. Went Chapter 7 a few years ago and MTD purchased tiller tooling & name.Murray got the chipper-shredders.
Power equipment has been going through a consolidation the last 20 years or so that has left us with,alphabetically:

American Yard Products - parent co Electrolux. Huge public owned European consumer products company. Roots in old Roper company.Poulan-Weedeater,Husqvarna,Craftsman pvt label (917.xxxxxx in model number) Jonsereds, among uS brands.Also purschased Bluebird,Yazoo-Kees to try the commercial biz.

John Deere-Huge public owned US company-breaking into lower priced consumer market with HomeDepot as well as dealer line. Bought Homelite,owned 2 years,lost 125 million US $,sold Homelite to Techtronics,a private label power tool company from China.

MTD-Private owned company,markets Cub Cadet as a premium line,also Yard Man,Yard Machine,White,Troybilt,Bolens,as well as private label brands.Fewer as mass market channel consolidates .

Murray- now a Chinese owned company,markets Murray some private label,mostly WalMart.

Those are the giants........Toro,public owned (Wheelhorse,Exmark) and Simplicity,employee owned,(Snapper,Ferris) and Ariens -Gravely are among the survivors so far.
The rest are simply in the game....but days are probably numbered. The Law of natural selection is at work in the mower business.

Look for someone to buy an engine manufacturer next,since other than the transmission components,is the most expensive part of a tractor. That,btw,has always been one of mTD's advantages on its competition in manufacturing.They make their own power transmission components and also have an interest in Hydrogear.
Sorry for long post.
 

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6chows I have a 1978 bolens 16hxl -- engine is in a box and tractor sits covered out back of said shed -- cast iron eaton11 hydro tranny- hydro filter - electric pto - tecumseh 16hp ohv engine-- hydro lift for deck and blades -- really crappy walbro side draft carb-- I hope to rebuild one day-- but today I am doing plumbing and still trying to get jdl120 to run before I give up and go to dealer
 

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Neil_Nassau
How is MTD supporting the older lines as far as parts? I was talking to Robert at Sonny's Farm and Equipment one of the oldest Bolens dealers in the country (since 1957) and he seemed optimistic about MTD continuing with parts support. I think it would have been better to let the bolens name die rather than cheapen it the way they did for Lowes.
 

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We have virtually zero bolens/TroyBilt tractors in our area. (although there was a big Bolens dealer in Jacksonville in the 80's (preGardenway)
One thing about it,when GardenWay was going down,parts were getting to be a bear. Especially vendor supplied items like belts,etc as not getting paid.........vendors would shut them off.

One of the Cub dealer's down our way sold a fair number of Troybilt tractors back in the mid-90's said the older tractor parts are available........although prices were higher. Its expensive for any manufacturer to maintain older parts in the system and usually they price accordingly. If there are enough of the tractors out there.......thats usually where the aftermarket takes over.
Good example is older Cubs............we sell parts all the time for older tractors. Most of the mechanical parts are still available......its the sheet metal that is usually not an active number.
The old Bolens were good tractors......
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Welcome Neil! And thanks for the educational post. Don't worry about long posts here, especially if they are as informative as that.
 

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Originally posted by bontai Joe
Did Troy-Bilt sell many? I'm not talking about the current Troy-Bilt tractors, but the ones made in the late 1980s and early 90s.
The Bolens Dealer where I bought my Bolens 850 new 40 years ago sold the Troy Built for several years after they took over Bolens.So I'd say a lot of them were sold during those years.
 

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Joe, I remember that newspaper, it was called T-BON (Troy-Bilt Owner's News) A fellow named Dean Leith was their big promoter, and they had for a time, a program (can't remember what it was called), where you could be compensated for any buyers you steered their way. The company name was Garden Way Manufacturing company.

I bought my 6hp Horse model Ser#20542, in 1971, Still got it, it's built like a tank! :thumbsup: The sandy Long Island soil, couldn't, in twenty yearswear out the Bolo tines, but the rocky soil here in North Carolina did it in five years
Wish I could find some of the original asbestos reverse discs, the replacements don't seem to grab as well as the originals.

Hated that they went out of business, but saw the handwriting on the wall, when they brought out the two speed model. It tok attachments, but wasn't built nearly as heavy as the originals, with their big cast iron gearboxes
 

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Joe & Bob

Anybody own a Troy-Bilt tractor from back when Bolens was making them?

We have a Troy-Bilt GTX18 and we used it for everything. The engine went out and we can't find a replacement for it. It was a Kohler and they don't make the engine anymore. The engine was made especially to fit into the allowed space under the hood. This was a super tractor and we'd love to get it working again. Bolens did make it. Jan
 

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Joe, we have a Troy-bilt GTX20 garden tractor me by Bolens. We loved it when it was working. However, the engine blew and we cannot fins a replcment. Sems they don't make them anymore. J Banks
 
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